Even the green power industry is not immune to tremors from the global economic downturn.
Wind turbine blade maker LM Glasfiber Group said Jan. 6 it will lay off 600 workers at plants in Europe and the United States. The Lunderskov, Denmark-based company plans to cut a fifth of its domestic workforce 450 employees and to close one of its two blade plants in Little Rock, Ark., with the loss of 150 jobs.
The firm experienced a flurry of canceled or postponed orders in recent weeks after customers were unable to get financing for projects.
The company said it is still confident in the long-term outlook for the wind turbine business. It still has the capacity to make blades up to 61.5 meters (about 200 feet) long in Little Rock.
LM Glasfiber only began producing its polyester and fiberglass mill blades in Little Rock in February. In October, the company inaugurated a new North American headquarters and a second Little Rock plant, promising to employ 1,000 in the city over the next five years.
The company's first plant in Little Rock will close by late March. Some 60 workers will move to the newer facility, leaving warehousing and some subassembly work at the first site.
Early last year, his firm had around 1,000 orders that, it said, were expected to keep local operations occupied through 2009.
The company also has plants in Fargo, N.D., and Gaspe, Quebec.
European analysts warn that the wind power market will face a stagnant 2009, and that LM Glasfiber has suffered from overcapacity. The company has 13 production units and employs 6,000 in nine countries, including India and China.
In late 2008, LM Glasfiber launched a new turbine blade plant in Golenów, Poland, its third in northern Europe. The facility employs 250 and supplies blades for turbine builder Nordex AG of Norderstedt, Germany.